Alaskan figure skater Keegan Messing, fresh off his first Olympics in PyeongChang, is hitting the ice this weekend in Juneau.
The 26-year-old will be performing with over 90 Juneau youth and adult skaters in the Juneau Skating Club’s “Beyond the Stars” shows on Saturday at Treadwell Arena.
The Girdwood resident generated statewide buzz after he was named to Team Canada for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Messing, who holds dual-citizenship in both the United States and Canada, finished in 12th place at the Games.
Messing describes the experience as “three weeks of dreamland.” In a phone interview Thursday with the Empire, he said he nearly teared up before stepping onto the ice for the first time in South Korea.
“I’m looking up at the (Olympic) rings and then it was like, ‘I’m about to skate in the Olympics,’” Messing said from Anchorage. “I almost just cried right then and there but I had to bring it back and center myself again right before I went out. But going out there, it was a dream come true, it was amazing.”
After returning home from the Olympics, Messing spent a few weeks back in Alaska before heading off to Italy for the World Figure Skating Championships.
He said the shows this weekend in Juneau will be like a homecoming.
“I’ve been skating in Juneau for quite a few years now and it’s still in my home state, so it’s like coming home,” Messing said. “It’s nice to be able to skate where I’m from.”
In Saturday’s two-hour productions, Messing will play the role of Professor Saul R. Flare (solar flare), a character that takes the skaters on a journey to space. JSC coach Pam Leary said the show will feature about 30 routines in total, all set to various space-themed music from artists like David Bowie and Elton John.
“And so our story is pretty simple, it’s the great plan of Professor Saul R. Flare,” Leary said. “He takes us into space. We meet all kinds of characters out in space and then we get stranded and then we have to figure out how to get back. We wonder if we’re going to live out in space for the rest of our lives.”
Messing said he’s been busily creating a program for Elton John’s Rocket Man to show off, “which is quite a stretch outside of what I normally skate to,” he said.
Messing was last in Juneau in January when he met with Gov. Bill Walker and a Canadian consulate. He made time for some of the club skaters, who closely followed his Olympic journey over the ensuing weeks, gathering at the rink to watch him perform from a television in the lobby.
“The kids were over the moon to see him, to work with him, to hear about what his adventure was going to be,” Leary said. “And now that he’s lived that they are super excited to hear how it went, what it was like and I’m sure we’ll have some discussion time with him on Sunday after the shows.”
Messing will be available to the public for autographs and pictures during both shows on Saturday.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.